Back Pain in Shoulder Blade: Causes and Relief

Do you frequently experience back pain in your shoulder blades? You’re not alone. Back pain in shoulder blades is a common complaint that affects millions of people worldwide. The good news is that most cases are treatable, and relief can be achieved with the right approach.

In this blog post, we will explore the causes of back pain in shoulder blades, its symptoms, and the various treatment options available to manage it. We’ll also discuss exercises that can help alleviate pain. So read on to learn more about how you can find relief from your discomfort and get back to living life to the fullest.

Understanding Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Back pain in shoulder blade

The upper back area is a common area for discomfort due to various reasons, such as poor posture, muscle strain, or overuse. Sharp or dull pain may indicate back pain in the shoulder blade region. To alleviate this discomfort, treatment options like medication and physiotherapy are commonly suggested, along with home remedies such as hot and cold therapy.

Causes of Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Back pain in the shoulder blades is a common condition that can be caused by poor posture while sitting for long periods. It can also be caused by muscle strain from overuse of the upper back muscles. Injury or trauma to the area can also cause discomfort. Some other causes of pain include:


Posture plays a significant role in preventing strain on the muscles of the upper back and shoulders, which can cause discomfort and pain. Slouching and hunching down while sitting for extended periods can lead to poor posture, resulting in back pain in shoulder blades.


Back pain in the shoulder blades can be caused by overuse of shoulder and back muscles. When you overuse this area of your body, it can lead to muscle strain and discomfort. This is especially true for individuals who engage in repetitive activities that involve the upper back, such as typing on a computer or using hand tools.


Arthritis can inflame and cause pain in shoulder blade joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are common types that affect the area. Medication, physiotherapy, and lifestyle changes can manage back pain caused by arthritis. Symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and tenderness may indicate arthritis. Early treatment is crucial for effective symptom management and joint damage prevention.


Osteoporosis weakens bones and can cause pain in different parts of the body. But it is not a frequent cause of back pain in the shoulder blades. Muscle strain or injury, nerve compression, arthritis, and poor posture are some other potential causes. Treatment varies from medication to physiotherapy and lifestyle changes. Seek medical attention for severe or persistent pain.

Lifting Heavy Objects

Shoulder blade pain can be caused by lifting heavy objects, but it’s not the only cause. Poor posture, muscle strain, and injury are common culprits. Proper lifting form and equipment are essential. Exercise and stretches can prevent pain and strengthen muscles. Seek medical attention if pain persists or worsens.


Back pain can come from various factors, including poor posture and muscle strain, but fractures in the thoracic spine region can also cause it. Fractures may be caused by trauma or underlying conditions like osteoporosis. The symptoms in this case include severe pain and difficulty moving. Treatment options range from rest to surgery, depending on severity.

Misaligned or Overused Scapula

The scapula is crucial for shoulder movement and stability. It plays an important role in shoulder blade pain. A misaligned or overused scapula can cause discomfort in the upper back. Misalignment of scapula can occur from repetitive strain, poor posture, or a previous injury.


Shoulder blade pain is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain and tenderness. Fibromyalgia can also cause fatigue, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms. If you have fibromyalgia and are experiencing shoulder blade pain, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper management of your condition.

Symptoms of Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Back discomfort between or beneath the upper back’s trapezius muscles is a common issue. Alongside tightness and shortness of breath, other indications of upper back pain can consist of numbness and tingling sensations. Poor posture, overuse, arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle strain, and lifting heavy objects with poor form can cause sharp upper-back pain. =

Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Physiotherapy in London

For effective diagnosis and treatment of upper back discomfort, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional. Identifying the root cause of shoulder blade pain is pivotal in determining a suitable treatment plan that might include medication or surgery, if required.

Back pain in the shoulder blades is diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, medical history, and imaging tests like X-rays or MRI. Nerve conduction studies or electromyography may also be used. Treatment options include medication, physiotherapy, surgery (in severe cases), and lifestyle changes like regular exercise and good posture. It’s crucial to seek professional medical advice for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Massage Therapy for Shoulder Blade Pain

Massage therapy can improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension. However, the technique used depends on the cause of pain. Heat therapy and stretching exercises is suggested for shoulder blade pain.

One Body LDN offers massage therapy and physiotherapy in London for individuals experiencing back pain in the shoulder blades. Our certified therapists use a personalized approach to address the root cause of your discomfort and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. From deep tissue massage to stretching exercises, we offer a range of therapies that can help alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall wellbeing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start your journey towards a pain-free life.

Exercises to Relieve Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Regular exercises are essential in alleviating pain and tightness in the muscles around the shoulder blades and upper back region. Strengthening exercises not only help improve posture but also increase your range of motion. These include exercises like scapular push-ups, wall angels, and rows with resistance bands. Incorporating yoga poses such as downward dog or child’s pose can specifically target tense muscles in these areas.

Moreover, performing foam rolling exercises can significantly aid in releasing muscle tension. Prior to engaging in any exercise program for relief from back pain, it is advisable to consult with a physiotherapist or healthcare provider.


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice that can relieve pain and promote healing by inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate nerves. Effective in reducing shoulder blade pain, acupuncture can also improve range of motion and reduce inflammation but should be combined with other home remedies for best results. It’s important to seek treatment from a licensed practitioner.

Medication and Surgery for Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

When the discomfort caused by back pain in shoulder blades becomes unbearable, medication and surgery may be necessary. Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs are some of the common medications prescribed to alleviate pain temporarily.

However, surgery should only be considered as a last resort when the pain in the shoulder blade is severe. You should always consult with your healthcare provider before making any decisions about treatment options.

Medications for Shoulder Blade Pain

There are several options for treating shoulder blade pain, including medications like NSAIDs and muscle relaxants. Prescription opioids may also be prescribed for severe pain, but require close monitoring. Topical creams and injections of corticosteroids or numbing agents can also provide relief.

Surgery Shoulder Blade Pain

If other treatments fail, surgery may be recommended for shoulder blade pain. The decision to proceed depends on the condition’s severity and extent of damage to muscles, nerves, or bones. Common surgical procedures aim to reduce nerve compression and remove damaged tissue. However, surgery carries risks and requires a long recovery period.

How to Prevent Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Maintaining proper posture by sitting and standing straight is an effective way to prevent upper back discomfort. Regular stretching exercises for the upper back muscles can also improve mobility while reducing the risk of muscle strain. One should avoid carrying heavy bags or backpacks that put unnecessary pressure on the shoulders and back. Seeking relief from chronic pain through professional help from a chiropractor or physiotherapist may also be beneficial.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains can prevent shoulder blade pain. Saturated fats and processed sugars can worsen inflammation. Adequate calcium, vitamin D, and hydration are necessary for strong bones and preventing muscle cramps. Lean proteins like fish and nuts support healthy muscle mass to protect the spine.

How to Manage Back Pain in Shoulder Blades at Home

To manage back pain in shoulder blades at home effectively, you can try several methods. Begin with hot or cold therapy like heating pads or ice packs to reduce inflammation and swelling. Perform gentle stretches and exercises regularly to relieve tension in the upper back muscles and enhance mobility.

Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide pain relief. Having good posture while sitting and standing is essential to prevent further discomfort. Refrain from engaging in activities that may worsen the condition.

How to Use Hot and Cold Therapy for Shoulder Blade Pain?

To manage discomfort in the upper back and shoulder blade areas, you should consider using hot and cold therapy at home. Heat therapy helps with muscle relaxation and increased blood flow to the affected area, whereas cold therapy helps with inflammation reduction.

For heat therapy, make use of a heating pad or warm towel, while ice packs or frozen vegetables are useful for cold treatment. Remember to alternate between hot and cold therapies but avoid using any of them for over 20 minutes to prevent skin damage. Both of these therapies can be really effective for lower back pain.

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain in Shoulder Blades?

If you’re struggling with upper back discomfort or shoulder blade discomfort, it’s critical to understand when to seek healthcare. Ignoring the issue could lead to serious medical problems like heart attacks or thoracic aortic aneurysms. Seek medical care if you have sharp pain and it persists for more than two weeks or if you experience other symptoms like chest pain and difficulty breathing.

Shortness of breath can also indicate that your back muscles are strained. Treatment options include naproxen and ibuprofen for inflammation and myofascial pain syndrome relief.

Can Shoulder Blade Pain Be a Sign of Something Serious?

Shoulder blade pain can stem from various causes such as poor posture or injuries. But it can also indicate a serious underlying condition like heart attack or lung cancer. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe or persistent shoulder blade pain. Be prepared to undergo imaging tests or treatment options based on your doctor’s recommendation.

Key Takeaways for Back Pain in Shoulder Blades

Back pain between the shoulders can result from various sources like muscle strain or poor posture. The treatments available for discomfort are physiotherapy exercises to increase range of motion or medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. For more severe cases like spinal cord compression or herniated discs; surgical intervention may be recommended.

Preventative measures like practicing good posture through yoga or standing up straight along with regular exercise can keep upper back muscles healthy. It is paramount to consult your healthcare provider for personalized care and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common causes of back pain in the shoulder blades?

Shoulder blade pain is often caused by poor posture, back injuries, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or osteoarthritis. Treatment options include physiotherapy, medication, and surgery depending on the severity of the condition. It’s important to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Are there any exercises or stretches that can help relieve back pain in the shoulder blades?

There are exercises and stretches that can alleviate back pain in the shoulder blades, such as wall angels, shoulder blade squeezes, and thoracic extensions. Doorway stretches, cat-cow stretch, and child’s pose are also effective. However, seeking advice from a healthcare professional is crucial before incorporating any new exercise or stretching routine.

When should I seek medical attention for back pain in the shoulder blades?

Shoulder pain may require medical attention if it’s severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like fever or numbness. Immediate attention is needed if the pain spreads to arms, chest, or abdomen. If it interferes with daily activities and doesn’t improve with rest or self-care measures, consult a doctor. Early intervention can prevent complications and help manage symptoms effectively.

Where can I find physiotherapy near me?

To locate physiotherapy services near you, search online directories or ask for referrals from your doctor or friends who have undergone treatment. Verify the qualifications and experience of the physiotherapist before scheduling an appointment. During sessions, express any worries or queries you may have. One Body LDN offers physiotherapy in London with a team of expert physiotherapists. With a focus on providing personalized care and evidence-based treatment, One Body LDN can help address your specific needs and guide you towards recovery. Contact them today to schedule an appointment and begin your journey towards relieving back pain in the shoulder blades.

Where can I find sports massage near me?

To find a sports massage therapist nearby, search online and read reviews before booking. Ask friends and family for recommendations and contact the therapist to discuss availability, pricing, and services. Consider their qualifications and experience to ensure the best outcome. For sports massage in London due to any sports injury, One Body LDN is one of the best options. Their clinic is conveniently located in the heart of London, making it easily accessible for those seeking physiotherapy services.


Back pain in shoulder blades is a common problem and can be caused by various factors, including poor posture, overuse, arthritis, osteoporosis, and more. It’s crucial to identify the cause of your pain to get the right treatment. You can try exercises, medication, surgery, or even acupuncture to manage your symptoms.

However, it’s important to prevent back pain in shoulder blades from happening in the first place by correcting your posture, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet. If you experience any red flags or serious symptoms related to your back pain in shoulder blades, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Take care of your back and share this blog with anyone who might benefit from it.

If you are searching “private physiotherapy near me” / “Sports massage near me” / “Deep tissue massage near me” / “pain treatment near me”, have private health insurance physiotherapy cover and are looking for the best private healthcare in London – One Body LDN is your answer.

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